2006's Precis is the first album from Thomas Meluch under his musical pseudonym Benoit Pioulard. Following a series of limited, handmade cassette and CDR releases and the well-received Enge EP (2005), Precis arose as a documentation of a coming to terms with impermanence, marked by analog residue and the imperfections of human influence.
A multi-instrumentalist with an insatiable palette, Pioulard bases most of his songs on treated acoustic guitars and honeyed vocals, backed by carefully layered bells, bass, dulcimer, old tape samples, field recordings and myriad other sources. These sounds, though sculpted roughly into pop songs, have their own delicate patterns of ebb and flow, distortion and disappearance. From the sunny refrain of "Triggering Back" to the descent of nighttime chills on "Needle & Thread," Precis sighs in time with the seasons. It's an album about him, her, and you; it's an exaltation of the ways these things end.
2008's Temper is the second album under his Benoit Pioulard nom de guerre. Composed throughout a year that involved graduation from university and a cross-continental relocation, its 16 tracks arose in specific periods of intense creative energy. Assembling various analog sources on basic software at home, Pioulard has honed his craft into a form that suggests something far grander. With soft-edged vocals and a broad palette of instruments that lately includes harmonium and cello, he constructs diverse arrangements that skirt the borders of pop with beautiful, detailed atmospheres.
The scope and sonic narratives of songs like "A Woolgathering Exodus" and "Golden Grin" exhibit new degrees of musicality, while the weightlessness of "Brown Bess" or "Sweep Generator" reflects the unrestrained context in which the record was produced. On Temper, Pioulard endeavors to make sense of things in a tumultuous time, inspired by everything from medieval astrology to the poems of T.S. Eliot and the films of the Italian neo-realists.